This is it: The final post in this exciting blog series, where I cook two dishes from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking book (sequentially), and read one book from the shelf that had the most recently acquired books. (Yes, it makes no sense as a blogging concept.)
I’ve only made it about… a fifth? of my way through the cookbook before I ran out of books, so I’ll have to come up with a different, fresh exciting concept to get me through the rest of the book. But today we have… chicken with garlic? Yes. Chicken with garlic.
But first we have to make chicken stock, which has these ingredients.
It’s butchering time! So I basically cut away all the stuff that’s going into the chicken dish itself…
… i.e., these bits…
… so I’m left with the rest of the carcass in a pot.
Then bring it to a boil, and skim skim skim until all the scum is wiped off the streets, I mean the broth, and then dump a bunch of herbs and veggies into the pot.
And then simmer for two to three hours. Looks tasty, eh?
Well, OK, it doesn’t look as yucky once the solids have been removed.
And then the chicken dish itself. It’s got very few ingredients: Basically just chicken, garlic, chicken stock and wine.
As usual, the chicken bits are roasted thoroughly to give them some colour and flavour.
Meanwhile, it’s garlic clove cleaning time. Do you know how much time it takes to de-skin approx. forty cloves?
About the same time it takes to do all the chicken bits, since I have to do them two at a time.
Then the cloves go into the pan…
… and then the chicken bits go back into the pot, along with some wine and chicken stock. Smells dee lish.
Hm… well, the chicken is super dooper juicy, and it’s got a good sear on it. And I love garlic; I do, but — the flavours are pretty one note, which… isn’t surprising. But there’s, like, no shock of deliciousness here… the flavours just seem kinda un-evolved.
I mean, it’s good chicken, but I’ve made several chicken dishes from this book that have been fantastic, and this isn’t. Fantastic.
But this was supposed to be accompanied by a book, and the final book on the shelf was:
Blå by Maja Lunde. I… think I was given this as a Xmas gift? Probably… the year before last? The author’s written a previous best seller which I haven’t read, but let’s read the first three pages together:
Haha! It’s in Norwegian, so you can’t read it anyway. So let’s make dessert instead:
So it’s an apple pie I mean tart.
Pâte-Demi Feuilleté sure sounds more fancy than “rough puff pastry”. On the other hand… “That is sure some rough puff pastry, boy!” So it could go either way. Anyway, that’s the recipe for the tart shell, and it sounds… absolutely tasteless?
Anyways, these are all the ingredients.
The puff pastry basically flour, ice water and butter.
The recipe says that I should be making this on my marble slab. But what do you know! I forgot where I put my marble slab! As one does! Well I never.
So I make a crater of the flour, and dump the ice water and the chilled butter into it…
… and then work it into a dough. That looks like a dough, right?
And then wrapped with saran, and into the fridge for fifteen minutes. I’d forgotten how much waiting is involved when making pies I mean tarts. It’s something to do with the glutens in the flour: If it’s not properly chilled, it tenses up and retracts and you don’t want that.
So some time later, more chilling, I roll it out and pop it over a pie I mean tart pan. This dough is a lot easier to work with than some of the previous doughs this book has made me make: It’s not very sticky at all, and rolls easily without snapping back too much.
So, of course, then it goes back into the fridge for half an hour.
The recipe said to do this! Double the edges. Looks horrible…
And then foil it all up and add some cooking beans to press it down, and then into the oven for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, I core and de-er-skinify the apples. I should get a new apple corer: It works fine at the actual de-coring thing, but then it’s just impossible to remove the core sample from the de-corer.
And then into a pan with some butter and some sugar.
Meanwhile, the shell has finished baking. And… man, does that taste basic. It’s like… tasting drywall.
Then the cooked apples into the pan. (Which I surrounded with foil just in case the shell is all leaky-ey.)
And then add the filling, which is eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract. The filling tastes delicious, but… it thing going to turn out to be an omelette with some apples inside!?
Into the oven for half an hour…
And then deflated a bit.
It made it out of the pan! This pastry isn’t puff, man — it’s rough. I mean tough.
Oh, wow. This has much more complex flavours than I thought it would have.
It’s the scorched apples, I guess? It’s got a caramelley sweet thing going on, while still being quite tart. And the egg stuff? Delicious! It’s egg and sugar and butter and vanilla, and it goes so well with the scorched apples.
This is really delicious! I’m so surprised!
The shell is basically inedible, though. It’s super duper tough, but even if you put in the effort to chew it (which is certainly possible), it tastes like… a void. It’s a taste void.
And speaking of voids: The book is kinda really OK totally bad: Every scene is what a sympathetic reader would call “cinematic”, but since I’m basic and nasty, I’ll call those scenes teeveeactic: Every chapter seems designed to be turned into a New Age Of Quality TV scene. It’s horrible! It’s gruesome! OK, so the scenes with the old woman were tolerable, but that guy? I just couldn’t.
So I ditched the book around page 80.
It’s offal! I mean awful!
And that concludes this blog series: There are no more books in the most-recently-bought part of my bookshelf. (Well, the part of the bookshelf that was that part when I started this blog series IT”S ALL SO COMPLIMACATED!)
I do want to make the rest of the dishes in the Bistro book, though, so I’ll have to come up with some other stupid blogging concept to motivate myself to actually do that.
This blog post is part of the Bistro
Cooking & Books series.